Frozen Solid (The Heart Beats in Its Cage Remix)

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by templemarker

Notes: Fraser/RayK, R. Written for Remix…Redux V: Bigger, Longer and Uncut. Original story was Solidity by ekaterinn. Also available to read at Remix.


01. stuck in a city

Ray would be the first to admit that it was a fucking cold-ass winter. He rubbed his hands together against the bite, thrumming with pent-up energy. Thing was, Ray had always loved weather like this. There was something about facing off against the cold that sank into his bones right. He never really was one for the sun-and-sand combo package; he liked stomping though snow and bitching about the salt trucks and watching the neighborhood kids try to roll up snowmen. When the nights got longer, he used it as an excuse to go home earlier, tuck in with a beer and a game on the television. It was the season that suited him the most, suited his habits and his kinda lonesome nature.

That wasn’t so much true for Fraser, though.

Ray first noticed it when Fraser started showing up at the station when Ray didn’t call him, or when Fraser’s freaky sixth sense kicked in and he knew to be there. It was weird: Fraser looked restless. Almost unhappy, though you’d have to know his face real well to see it. It was a point of pride with Ray that he *did* know Fraser’s face that well, and so he started watching Fraser real close to try and figure out what was going on. In the meantime, he came up with all kinds of stupid excuses to make it easier for Fraser to keep on coming by. Hell, he had all that extra paperwork to do anyway, and Fraser got a hard-on from filling stuff out in triplicate, so it was a symbiosis or whatever relationship.

The other thing Ray liked about winter was that the criminals all decided to do the bear-thing and hibernate for the winter. It made being a homicide detective way easier if there weren’t too many homicides to go chasing down for suspects.

But it made Fraser itchy and anxious, without someone to chase down. It made Ray feel the need to chase him down. Problem was, Fraser was right there all along.

02. come three o’clock

The thing that made Ray finally call Fraser on his misty-eyed dazing-in-the-distance not-talking bullshit was Dief.

Dief did a lot of stuff Fraser never saw, either ’cause Fraser didn’t actually want to see it or ’cause Dief kept the really bad shit away from Fraser’s reproving eyes. But at the station on a Wednesday morning, with weak December sunlight filtering through the blinds of the bullpen, Dief blatantly stole a hot dog off of Huey’s desk when Huey was in the bathroom and ate it at Fraser’s feet, and Fraser didn’t bat an eye.

“That’s it,” Ray huffed through his nose, throwing the files he was looking at down on the desk hard enough to make a loud, slamming noise which startled Fraser out of his triplicate-related reverie. “That’s enough, Frase.”

Fraser looked at him like he’d just started tangoing with a polar bear. Which was pretty much like he looked all the time, so Ray just sighed when Fraser said “Enough of what, Ray?”

“This!” Ray said, waving his hands around wildly as if it would better convey the wrongness of the entire situation. “Listen, Frase, I don’t know what’s going on with you, but I’m gonna find out.”

Fraser’s eyes narrowed, and Ray almost danced with happiness. At least Fraser was still capable of being annoyed, and if he was annoyed it meant he was feeling *something* at least, instead of this remote Mountie act he had going on for the last coupla weeks. “What if I refuse to talk?” he said almost mulishly.

Ray crossed his arms and leaned forward. “Then I’ll kick you in the head,” he said, and it wasn’t a threat, it was a promise. He saw Fraser filing that away in his crazy whacked-out brian of his, acknowledging it and figuring it was okay and moving on. Fraser knew he needed some kinda help, even if he wasn’t gonna be able to ask for it. “We gotta talk,” Ray said shortly. and Fraser shrugged–actually shrugged! which is how Ray knew he had to do something soon–like there was nothing to say at all.

“We’re leaving,” Ray said definitively, and he got up and left, grabbing his coat on the way out, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that Fraser was right behind him.

03. all those you loved you mistrust

Ray’s apartment was hotter than fucking hell, and he cursed himself for leaving the damn heater on again when he left the house. He made to turn it off after throwing his coat on the couch, but he glanced at Fraser for one second and changed his mind. Fraser looked lost, and cold, and shivering. It wasn’t a good look for him–Ray couldn’t think of one time he’d ever seen Fraser feel the cold before.

Dief curled up next to the heater, and Ray absently ran a couple of affectionate fingers through his fur. Dief had been pointing out that things were wrong too–that hot dog stunt was just a trick to get Ray to notice, anyway.

Ray puttered around the apartment, putting some water on to boil and making the beginnings of coffee, trying not to look at Fraser, who was standing in the middle of Ray’s apartment looking lost and far away. He looked up when Ray pressed a mug of tea in his hands, made the way Fraser liked it, and the faint smile of thanks was the first time Ray thought he might get through to the man in weeks.

Still, the timing felt off, and Ray was nothing if not a fan of timing, so he shuffled Fraser over to the couch and turned on the hockey game. They sat there, watching but not watching. Fraser kept running off to whatever place in his mind he kept revisiting, and Ray watched Fraser. There was some small freedom in this whole weird situation. It was a chance for Ray to look at Fraser, really *look* at him without having to deal with talks about First People soul-gaze or the anatomy of the retina.

Ray catalogued Fraser, all the parts he could see and a lot of what he couldn’t. He saw how pale Fraser was, paler than normal. He hadn’t been getting out as much as he needed to–Ray would bet his car that Dief had been talking himself out for at least a month, instead of the usual walks around the city parks that Fraser was fond of. He was thin, too, not eating enough and was wan with it. He looked worn and tired, the lines around his eyes were deeper than normal and his hair was touching his ears, meaning he hadn’t bothered to give himself his usual weekly trim.

And on the inside, there was all kinds of things going on. Ray could see from the set of his mouth that he was thinking about his dad, ’cause Fraser stiffened up in all kinds of ways when Bob Fraser was looking over his shoulder, dead or not. He looked unhappy, and–homesick. Definitely homesick. Ray knew the signs; it didn’t happen all that often, except for when it was happening all the time.

“Fraser,” he said softly, watching the complex play of emotions run across Fraser’s face as he came back to himself.

“Yes, Ray?”

04. thought you were around

“I do miss him,” Fraser said, like the words were broken glass he had to chew around. “I just don’t miss him enough.”

Ray looked at him, careful not to let anything show on his face, making himself a blank slate for whatever Fraser needed. “What do you mean?” he asked.

Fraser made a frustrated gesture with his right hand, and Ray caught it, grasping it tightly and not letting go. Fraser’s eyes settled on where their hands were connected, not looking up. “All my life,” Fraser said slowly, painfully, “I have done what I thought my father would approve of for me. And now here I am, thousands of miles from the land he sacrificed himself to protect, in a city more damned cold than the tundra and harsher than the ice caps.” He gave a frustrated noise, and made to remove his hand, but Ray didn’t let go. He gripped tighter, trying to tell Fraser it was okay to get it out, even if it was hard.

“I hate it here,” Fraser said roughly. “I hate the way the rain and snow mix, and the way my boots are always ruined by the salt. I hate the wind and the fickle sun and the sound of the snowplow outside my window. I miss the quiet, the peace. I miss the feeling of being the only person for a hundred miles. I miss my home, Ray,” he said, his voice breaking.

It was silent for a minute, and then Ray said quietly, “I know, Fraser. It’s okay. It’s okay to feel all those things.”

Fraser choked out a laugh. “But that’s not all,” he said, squeezing Ray’s hand. “I don’t miss it enough, Ray. If I wanted to, I could go home now. I’ve been gone for three years. The ire against me will have receded enough that I could find a post for myself out in the Territories, which are usually readily available anyway. I could go home. But I don’t want to.” He looked up at Ray. “I like it here, too. I like Chinese food at one in the morning, and all the wonderful bookstores. I like coming in to work everyday, having a regular schedule. I very much like what we do, because I believe we help right many wrongs here. I like grocery stores and the movie theatre and all the parks. I like Chicago a great deal, Ray,” he said, managing a smile.

Ray turned all this over in his mind and took a second to figure out what to say. “Fraser,” he said carefully, “the heart’s a funny thing. It pulls you in all these different directions at once, so you don’t even know what you want by the end of it all.” He grinned at Fraser, who reflected it back at him, which made Ray’s own heart twitch a little. He tamped it down and went on. “See, most days I’m caught between wanting to get in my car and drive till I can’t drive no more, and putting a collar on every damn scumbag I suspect in an investigation, and running off to Florida and leaving the whole damn job behind. I want a lot of things, and I want ’em all at once, and sometimes they’re real hard to say no to.”

Fraser nodded, watching him with real attention for the first time in what felt like a long fucking time.

“But that don’t mean I can’t have all those things, or can’t feel all those things.” Ray shrugged. “It just depends on what I want the most, and what’s best for me and the people I care about. You gotta think it out, so that you don’t run around in circles and regret all kinds of shit. That ain’t no good thing, you know? It don’t get you anywhere.”

“Ray,” Fraser said, hesitance in his voice.


“I’m not going anywhere. It’s just this time of year that makes all these thoughts come out more.”

“I’m glad, Fraser.”

They smiled at each other, and Ray realized he was still holding Fraser’s hand like a fourteen-year-old girl.

05. heart beats in its cage

“No,” Fraser said, frowning, as Ray started to pull his hand away.

Ray cocked his head. “No?”

“No,” Fraser said softly. “Ray, there is something I want, that I don’t wish to regret, and that I think would be best for me and the people around me.”

“Yeah?” Ray said, a little breathless with hope. “What’s that, then?”

Fraser kissed him, and that same thrumming feeling shot through Ray like it had been waiting for something exactly like this. Ray mumbled Fraser’s name through the press of their lips, and Fraser, in an unusual display of forwardness, pushed Ray backwards so that Fraser was hovering over him. Ray threaded his arms around Fraser and kept him close.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Fraser said again against Ray’s mouth.

“I know, Fraser,” Ray said, kissing him again and again. “I know.”

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